Filed under: Editorials, Incarceration, US
Over a month after September 9 there are still few things we can say with certainty about the scale of the strike. Many inside contacts have still not been able to connect with us, many prisons continue to be opaque and unaccountable to the public. Where we do have good information coming out, we’re often hearing about extreme violence of prison authorities’ response.
Now is the time when we determine the future of prisoner resistance in America. We can either make consequences for the prison’s violent responses, staying their hand, eroding their legitimacy, creating systems and expectations of oversight and improving the strategic groundwork for future actions, or we can allow the authorities to torture and even kill prison rebels with impunity.
It is essential that our responses be decentralized, localized and coalitional. IWOC and the National Lawyer’s Guild have a national-wide presence, but their resources are too limited to fight every fight from the top even if they wanted to, so instead they’ve been coordinating and supporting state-level responses.
Two places where this is working, largely because of dedicated ground support are Alabama and Michigan. The Free Alabama Movement and other rebels in AL have been at the front of prisoner struggles for years, since September 9, they have effectively tracked and exposed retaliation and controlled the narrative enough to bring in federal investigators and even see guards joining the protest by refusing to come in to work. Updates on the situation in Alabama are available here: https://freealabamamovement.wordpress.com/In Michigan, the story about Kinross’ protest and retaliation is breaking and a newly formed coalition of activists and family members are exposing the DOC’s violence. The NLG is helping recruit lawyers, new protests are being planned, and IWOC is helping coordinate media connections to keep the story of the state’s violence central. More info here.
Similar efforts are underway across the country, with varying levels of success. Wherever you are, there is almost certainly something nearby to plug in to. Find contact information for state-by-state outside support groups at https://supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org/contact/ If you want to be included in that list, contact [email protected], if there’s nothing listed for your state, contact [email protected] IWOC outreach should be able to help you connect with people.
If you haven’t got the time or energy to plug in to local organizing, you can always support by donating money, by making phone calls, or writing letters to prisoners. More info about how to do those things is here: https://supportprisonerresistance.noblogs.org/post/2016/09/01/strike-tracking-and-retaliation-support/